Not to be overdramatic, but sometimes you just have to know what to do. While I spend many of my days writing about cooking and then actually cooking, there are some super basic things that have remained a mystery. A perfect, clear chicken soup was one of those things until a few weeks ago. Now, after trial and error, I know THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP.
I mean, I have made LOTS of chicken stock for you. I have made LOTS of other soups for you (and HERE and HERE and HERE). I AM on TEAM SOUP! The problem is – I just didn’t know how to accomplish a clear brothy beautiful soup …
Frankly, EVERYONE wants a wholesome, nutritious, meaty, flavorful, brothy and good for you chicken soup, right? No one wants little pieces of gray stuff – ewwww, what is that – floaters, chunky fat sitting on top and floaty little pieces of skin in the soup, am I right?
Finally, FINALLY, I have conquered this little kitchen mystery and I have repeated it several times, just to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke. As of today, I’m going to show YOU how to make PERFECT clear meaty chicken soup that you can ply your family with as the winter cold and flu season arrives – because it will – shortly. You NEED THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP
THE RECIPE FOR THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP
- 1 3 lb whole hen - remove pieces packed internally
- 1 whole onion cut into 4 pieces - leave skin on
- 1 whole head of garlic - cut in half
- 4 whole large carrots - cut into 4 pieces
- 4 stalk celery - cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- In a large stock pot (about 6 quart size) place the whole hen and cover with good water by 1 inch.
- Add all of the other ingredients to the stock pot.
- Cook over medium heat and watch carefully. AS SOON AS the water begins to simmer, cut the heat to low. If this does not keep a simmer, then apply the lid. You can increase the heat until a small simmer is maintained.
- Cook until the bird is cooked through and beginning to fall apart.
- Carefully remove the hen and all of the veggies from the stock pot using a large slotted spoon.
- Set the hen and carrots aside to cool.
- Once cooled, pick the meat from the bird and cut the carrots into slices and then quarter those.
- As the liquid in the stock pot cools, skim the fat from the top.
- Replace the meat and carrots in the pot and heat over medium heat until all is heated through.
- Serve with green garnish such as parsley or chives.
TIPS AND TRICKS for THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP
- I hope these tips and tricks don’t get too long – because I could probably wax poetic about all of the potential pitfalls. No worries, I’ll be as brief as possible so you can have all the success. Lord knows, I have already had all of the fails!
- The real THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP is to end up with a crystal clear broth. In order to do that, you MUST NOT boil the chicken. You only want to lightly simmer it. As soon as the water begins to steam, start watching. THE MOMENT you see a few bubbles, be on alert. Once you have achieved a steady stream of bubbles, you will want to cut the stove back to low. Keep a CLOSE EYE on the pot and don’t allow it to simmer more than a steady stream of bubbles. You DO NOT want your chicken being all jostled around and knocked about by a boil. Besides that, the chicken gets tough that way – you want tender tender chicken.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, you will want to use a large dipper to gently remove the chicken and the veggies from the broth. You don’t want to disturb the chicken too much. Remove it to a large platter or bowl to cool. Toss all of the veggies except the carrots – allow them to cool as well.
- Make sure you are using good water. If your kitchen sink water tastes like a swimming pool, you might want to use water you purchase at the store.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, you will want to remove the meat from the bone and discard the skin.
- Make sure to skim the top of your broth before adding the carrots and chicken back in. This will remove some of the fat.
- Garnish with something green. We like parsley and chives. I also like to add croutons and cheese and anything that gives it a little bite. A dollop of sour cream anyone? Oh yeah, me too!
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS RECIPE, YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
A VERSE TO SHARE
We all need a little dark to realize the light. I read that somewhere. I wish I knew who to attribute it to. It is true though, isn’t it? Word.
Which reminds me of 1 John which says that He shines a light into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome him.
Powerful stuff, I believe. That’s the guy I believe in. The guy who created the universe and whose word is the WORD.
That said, without the darkness, we wouldn’t really realize or understand the light, would we? Thank Goodness, we’ve got Jesus shining his light into the darkness for us.
1 John: 1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.